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Posts Tagged ‘Gluten-free’

We’re a bit salad-obsessed these days. This one is huge and will feed a crowd when you have them over to your garden. Perfect with a piece of barbecued lamb.

Minted pea and spinach salad with bacon – serves 4-6

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 slices streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into lardons
  • 200g frozen peas, defrosted (only Birds Eye will do in our opinion)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with a little salt
  • a bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 200g baby spinach
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon over a medium heat until starting to crisp up.

Mix the defrosted peas with the garlic, mint, red onion and baby spinach.

Dress the salad with 4 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Toss in the bacon and scatter the feta on top.

(Original recipe from Avoca Salads, edited by Hugo Arnold, Avoca Ltd, 2007.)

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Barbecue season is coming (hopefully!) and potato salad is the perfect accompaniment. The dressing will make far more than you need but you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks and dress all your salads with it, so worth making.

Potato Salad – serves 4

  • 900g small new potatoes
  • 2 tbsp French dressing (see below)
  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • a large bunch of mint, chopped

FOR THE FRENCH DRESSING:

  • 100ml red or white wine vinegar
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • ½ a clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey

To make the French dressing, put all the ingredients into a food processor, season with salt and pepper, and whizz to combine (or you can do like us and shove it all in a jar and give it a good shake!).

Put the potatoes into a pan of salty water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until completely tender, then drain and put into a bowl. Mix in 2 tbsp of French dressing and leave to cool.

Mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt and mint together and toss with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to serve.

(Original recipe from Avoca Salads, edited by Hugo Arnold, Avoca Ltd, 2007.)

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It just wouldn’t be spring without asparagus soup would it? Though the weather is far from spring-like in Dublin. This is from Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson, though I suspect Simon may not approve of our half-whizzed texture. You can of course whizz until smooth and pass through a fine sieve if you’re equally fussy.

Asparagus soup – serves 4

  • 100g butter
  • 4 small leeks, white parts only, trimmed and chopped
  • 750ml water
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 450g fresh asparagus, snap off the woody ends and peel the thicker ends a little
  • 250ml double cream

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then sweat the leeks until soft.

Add the water and potato, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 15 minutes.

Chop the asparagus and add to the soup, then boil rapidly for 5 minutes.

Whizz the soup in a blender or food processor, then pass through a fine sieve (or if you’re lazy like us you can just roughly whizz with a stick blender).

(Original recipe from Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson, Ebury Press, 1994.)

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You should try this the next time you have some leftover roast chicken. In fact, it’s even worth cooking some chicken specially. Great for lunch with some fresh bread and butter.

Chopped Chicken Salad – serves 4 (generously)

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, diced (or just use some leftover roast chicken which is what we did)
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced into rounds
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 100g radishes, thinly sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tarragon sprigs, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 thyme springs, leaves only
  • 1 heart of romaine lettuce or Little Gem lettuce, finely chopped
  • 50g watercress, stems finely chopped and leaves left whole
  • 50g rocket, roughly chopped
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp runny honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

You need to start with a very large bowl, big enough to toss all of the salad ingredients together in.

Make the salad dressing in the bowl by whisking all of the ingredients together with some salt and black pepper.

Add the chicken to the dressing in the bowl and toss to coat. Fold in the chopped celery, scallions, cucumber, radishes and cherry tomatoes, then the herbs. Stir it all together and season with salt and black pepper.

When you are ready to serve, add the lettuce, watercress, rocket and Parmesan to the bowl. Toss everything together and serve as it is or tip out onto a large serving dish.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2019.)

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For our wedding anniversary this year we barbecued a whole rib of beef on the bone: consider it a super-rib eye steak. With the bone attached this is much harder to do completely on the barbecue (but not impossible). There is also an easier way if you finish the steak in the oven, which helps to to control the doneness while still getting the lovely barbecue char and flavours.

Wine Suggestion: Given the occasion we opened a bottle of Domaine de Chevalier Rouge 2009 from Pessac Leognan. A great vintage with fleshy fruit that at 12 years of age was singing very expressively. Super elegant and refined fruits, perfumed with that slight pencil edge that characterises the appellation and silky tannins that were both powerful and gentle in equal measure. Definitely powerful enough to stand next to the robust steak and then elevate the sum to another level. Well worth cellaring.

Rib of beef with wild mushroom butter – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g mixed wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Madeira
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil (optional)
  • 100g butter, diced and softened
  • 1 rib of beef on the bone

First, make the butter. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms with the shallots and garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes or until cooked through but not coloured.

Add the Madeira, cream and herbs to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste and stir in the truffle oil if using. Leave to cool completely.

Put the butter and cooled mushroom mixture into a food processor and purée until smooth. Scrape out onto a piece of non-stick baking paper, then roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends to secure. Chill for at least 2 hours, until hardened.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.

Take your steak out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes to come up to room temperature. Season at this stage too.

Cook over the direct heat on your barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning to make sure all sides are well browned with a little charring.

Place the barbecued steak onto a preheated ovenproof pan, and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes and until done to your liking.

We used a meat thermometer to judge doneness and removed the steak at 55C. While we like our steaks on the rare side we find that medium-rare to medium works best when cooking a rib on the bone. This ensures all the juicy fats are rendered properly. If you’d like it a little rarer cook to 52C. Remember that the steak keeps on cooking while resting too.

When your steak is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and sit it on a rack set over a tray. Cut the butter into slices and arrange on top of the steak. Set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving the steak from the bone and slicing. Serve with the buttery mushrooms spooned over.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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We don’t make a roast dinner every week but we do like one occasionally, especially in the brighter months when you can lighten them up a bit with some spring veg. Ask your butcher to score the pork skin for you, then leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin, which will help with the crispy crackling.

Wine suggestion: Quite often we have an oaky white with roast pork but tonight we had a notion for red and a 6 year old Olga Raffault Chinon Les Pucasses which was just hitting it’s stride and will be drinking nicely for another 10 years we think. Deep , complex and brooding and yet the limestone soils give it an immediate freshness and vivacity.

Roast pork belly with herbs & new potatoes – serves 4

  • 3-4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg thick end of pork belly, bone in, skin completely dry (see above)
  • 300g new potatoes
  • a few sprigs of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped, stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of peas or broad bean tops if available (we didn’t have these but we served with some double podded broad beans instead)
  • juice of ½ lemon

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan until fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar and coarsely grind. Score the skin and fat (but not the flesh) of the pork with a sharp knife if your butcher hasn’t done this for you already.

Put the pork into a roasting tray and rub allover with the crushed fennel seeds and some salt.

Put the pork into the oven for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin, then reduce the heat to 160C/315F/Gas 2-3. Add half a glass of water to the tray and roast for a further 2 hours, until crispy and tender. You will need to keep checking the water and ensuring that the pan doesn’t dry out.

While the pork is roasting, halve the potatoes if they’re big and put into a saucepan with the mint stalks. Cover with salty water and simmer until just tender, then drain and return to the pan, discarding the mint stalks. Add the butter and 1 tbsp of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Remove the cooked pork from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Add the chopped herbs to the potatoes and stir gently to coat, then spoon onto a warm platter. Slice the pork and arrange on the platter with the potatoes, then skim the fat from the juices in the roasting tin and spoon the juices over the pork and potatoes,.

If you have pea or bean tops, put them into a bowl and dress with the 1 tbsp of olive oil and the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter these over the pork and serve. (We dressed our broad beans with some olive oil and lemon and served these alongside instead).

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

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Daffodils, warmer weather (occasionally … ), longer days, and spring vegetables arriving in the shops. Things are definitely looking up, at least in our kitchen if nowhere else.

Wine Suggestion: The asparagus cried out for the Höpler Grüner Veltliner lurking in the fridge waiting for spring to arrive. GV is one of the few varieties to work with asparagus and this dish isn’t shy of their flavours so a good match. Crisp pear and zesty lemon flavours overlay the hints of characteristic white pepper umami savouriness; this is so clean and vibrant it shouts the beginning of the season.

Asparagus, wild garlic & Gorgonzola risotto – serves 3

  • a bunch of asparagus, snap off and discard the woody ends
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 40g butter and 25g of cold diced butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 250g superfino carnaroli rice
  • 60ml dry white wine
  • 40g Parmesan, grated
  • 60g Gorgonzola
  • a small handful of wild garlic leaves, finely chopped

Remove the tips from the asparagus and chop the stems into 3cm pieces.

Blanch the tips in a pan of salty boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Bring the stock the boil, then turn down and keep it at a bare simmer.

Melt 40g butter in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and asparagus stalks, then cook gently until the onion is soft and translucent, but not coloured.

Turn the heat up a little and add the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes until warm and coated with the butter and onion.

Add the wine and allow it to bubble up and almost disappear, then start adding the stock a ladle at a time. Keep stirring and only add more stock when the previous ladleful has been absorbed. Start tasting the rice after about 15 minutes, you want it to be soft but still with a little bite in the centre.

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the cold butter, Parmesan, 20g of the Gorgonzola and the wild garlic. Season to taste, then ladle into warm bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips and the rest of the Gorgonzola.

(Original recipe from Made at Home by Giorgio Locatelli, 4th Estate, 2017.)

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For no particular reason we tend to eat mostly meat and fish dominant dishes on the weekend, and mostly veg during the week. This has been unsettled recently as we have no one to share our dishes with, so there is inevitably lots of leftovers from the weekend, and fewer opportunities to cook vegetables. This weekend we made sure to include a veggie dish in the line up and we’re looking forward to the leftovers already. Lots of lovely warm spices in this one. Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: a nice accomaniment to this was from a young turk in Chateauneuf du Pape, Jean-Paul Daumen’s Méditerannée. From Southern France this contains the usual Rhone varieties alongside Cab Sauv and Merlot for a very pleasurable taste of sunshine. A well thought out biodynamic and organic blend that demonstrates why we shouldn’t always insist on what was grown traditionally in the area; this expands the range of taste on offer in a good way.

Red kidney bean & sweet potato stew with yoghurt & hot mint oil – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 big garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 690g jar of passata
  • 500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
  • 400g tin red kidney beans, drained
  • 30g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • Greek yoghurt

Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic and stir until both have softened but not coloured.

Stir in the spices and cook for a minutes, then season generously with Maldon salt and black pepper, then stir in the passata. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes. Add a splash of water now and then if needed to prevent it sticking.

Stir in the sweet potato and cook for a further 30-40 minutes, or until tender, then add the beans and most of the parsley and heat through.

Meanwhile, put a small pan over a medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and heat before stirring in the dried mint. Stir for a minute or two then remove from the heat.

Serve the stew with some yoghurt, the extra parsley and a drizzle of the hot mint oil.

(Original recipe from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2020.)

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Not much to look at perhaps but this is genuinely one of our favourite soup recipes. It makes a big potful and it’s really tasty, perfect for weekday lunches. 

Red lentil and bacon soup – serves 6

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 75g smoked back bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 200g red lentils, rinsed
  • 1.5 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • a large sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the bacon, onion and red pepper. Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes or until the veg has started to soften. Add the sweet potato, garlic and lentils and stir for another couple of minutes. 

Pour the hot stock into the pan, add the herbs and season well with salt and pepper. 

Turn the heat up and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. 

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ British Classics by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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Do we need to provide another recipe for Italian roast potatoes with rosemary? Probably not, but this version uses regular potatoes, rather than the baby waxy variety. So perhaps it will come in handy, as it did for us. 

Roast Potatoes with Rosemary – serves 4 to 6

  • 2kg potatoes e.g. Maris Piper or Roosters
  • a large handful of rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt and black pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks, then boil in salted water until just cooked through. Drain in a colander and leave for 10 minutes to cool slightly and lose some mixture. 

Preheat the oven to 220C/220C Fan/Gas 7.

Heat a roasting tray in the oven with most of the rosemary leaves and a good few glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Remove the tray from the oven and add the potatoes, turning to coat well in the oil and rosemary .

Roast for about 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so. 

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.)

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For many years we didn’t buy Polpo by Russell Norman. It has a fancy binding and was always wrapped in plastic in the bookshop, so there was no way to have a flick. We can’t remember now what made us take the plunge, but we’re so glad we did. We’ve cooked many of the recipes and recently took this book off the shelf again and cooked a few more, finishing with this steak dish. You probably don’t need Italian roast potatoes with rosemary as a side but we couldn’t resist.

Wine Suggestion: A kind birthday gift from our friends Nicola and Dave was a wine we knew nothing about, the Iuli Umberta and opening it to try with this dish was a revelation. From the Monferrato hills east of Turin, this Barbera is so full of energy and layered with subtle flavours and gentle spice; so easy and refreshing.

Flank steak with portobello mushrooms – serves 4

  • 800g flank steak, about 5cm thick
  • 4 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 8 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 small handful of flat parsley leaves, chopped

Season the meat with plenty of salt and pepper.

We cooked ours on a hot barbecue but if you prefer you can oil a griddle pan and heat until hot, then grill the steak on both sides. 10-12 minutes in total should give you a medium-cooked steak. Leave it to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dress the rocket leaves in some good olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the rocket between the serving plates or you can put it onto one large platter.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan with the garlic and most of the parsley. Add the mushrooms and fry until soft and glossy, then set aside. We like to season these a little too.

When the meat has rested, sliced it thinly. Lay the steak on top of the rocket, then scatter with the mushrooms and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and the rest of the parsley.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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This is a great little side salad to serve with Middle Eastern flavours. Here we had a chicken roasted with garlic and preserved lemon. Lots of delicious flavours on the plate. 

You need to roast chicken for 20 minutes at 190C/375F/gas 5 for each 500g, plus an extra 10 minutes.

Wine Suggestion: a red wine … with chicken … of course you can. We chose the Cantos de Valpiedra, a single estate Rioja, as we wanted hints of Moorish and Middle Eastern spices which tempranillo is good at transmitting. The Cantos is super elegant and smooth and has such a supple weight that it effortlessly matched the chicken and salad.

Herb salad with pomegranate & pistachios – serves 6

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • a small bunch of dill, roughly chopped
  • a small bunch of mint, leaves picked and torn
  • a bunch of scallions, finely sliced
  • 100g mixed salad leaves
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 100g pistachios, roughly chopped

Whisk the orange juice, vinegar and honey together in a small bowl with some seasoning. 

Tip rest of the ingredients into a large salad bowl, drizzle over the dressing and gently toss to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is good family-friendly stuff. Easy to put together and nothing too challenging for junior palates.

Wine Suggestion: An alpine Chardonnay took our fancy tonight so we opened Cantina Colternezio’s Altkirch Chardonnay from the Südtirol – Alto Adige. With a lovely purity and precision this is both thirst quenching and comforting.

Roast salmon & potatoes with herby peas – serves 2 adults and 2 kids

  • 500g baby potatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 500g single piece of skinless salmon fillet (try and get the middle, chunky bit from a side of salmon if you can)
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 250g frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill or mint

Heat the oven to 200C/180C/gas 6.

Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until just tender, then drain and leave to steam-dry in the pot.

Toss the potatoes with the oil and butter, then tip onto a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes.

Push the potatoes aside and add the salmon to the tray, add the lemon halves and season everything with salt and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Simmer the peas for a couple of minutes, then drain and tip into a warmed bowl. Add the crème fraîche and herbs.

Flake the salmon into chunks and serve with the potatoes and peas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A few tins and some spices and you’re pretty much sorted for this tasty weeknight curry. We served this with rice the first night, and chips the second. We also know it’s not tomato season at present but the fresh tomatoes are really more for texture than flavour here.

Tomato & chickpea curry – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions for about 10 minutes or until softened.

Add the garlic and spices and keep cooking for another minute or two.

Add the tin of tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and season generously. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes or until thickened.

Add the chickpeas and fresh tomatoes and allow to warm through. Serve with some steamed rice and the coriander scattered over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Quite unusual in flavour and a slightly different method. The bitter Seville oranges make a good contrast to the sweet spice and are balanced by a slightly reduced sugar ratio.

Seville orange, vanilla & cardamom marmalade – makes about 5 jars

  • 1.2kg Seville oranges (approx 8)
  • 10 cardamom pods, seeded
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 850g preserving sugar

Halve one of the oranges and finely slice, removing pips as you go, then put into a large saucepan. Peel and finely chop the flesh of the remaining oranges (reserve the skin from three) and carefully remove and discard any pips. Add the chopped flesh and juice to the pan.

Trim any excess pith from the reserved orange skin, then finely chop into thin strips. Add this to the pan with the cardamom seeds and 400ml water. Also add the vanilla seeds and throw in the empty pod.

Boil for 10 mins until the skins are softening, then add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has dissolved, simmer on low for 30-35 mins. Turn up the heat and boil to set for about 10-15 mins. The boiling point of jam is 105C but if you don’t have a jam thermometer, try the ‘wrinkle test’ and spoon some marmalade onto a freezer-cold saucer and leave for a minute. If it wrinkles when you poke it and has a fine skin on top, it’s ready. Pour the marmalade into sterilized jars, and store for up to a year.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Mussels with green pepper, Pernod, tomatoes, feta and dill. This is an Albanian recipe that we found in Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein. We don’t agree with the seafood and cheese rule anyway and this dish proves that it can work. Serve with crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Match with a white with a bit of body, but no oak. We chose an underrated Sylvaner by Sipp Mack in Alsace which was fresh with stone fruits and a racy minerality in the glass

Butrint Mussels – serves 2

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 small green pepper, sliced
  • 30ml of ouzo/Pastis (we used Pernod)
  • 600g mussels, scrubbed
  • 150ml passata
  • 75g feta cheese
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • a small handful of dill, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic and green pepper for 5 minutes.

Add the Pernod and the mussels, then cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels are starting to open.

Add the passata and feta and season with the chilli flakes, salt and some black pepper. Heat through for a minute or two, then serve scattered with the dill.

(Original recipe from Venice to Istanbul by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2015.)

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This granola from Dishoom has only a hint of sweetness and is much more nutty with hints of butter and spice so it makes a great foil to any fresh or poached fruit (here with Nigella’s pomegranate-poached quinces). It’s also great with just some creamy yoghurt, we loved it. The kitchen smells incredible as it toasts!

Dishoom Granola – makes 10-12 portions

  • 200g rolled oats
  • 100g almonds
  • 80g cashew nuts
  • 75g pistachio nuts
  • 45g desiccated coconut
  • 70g sunflower seeds
  • 70g pumpkin seeds
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 100g acacia honey
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 210C/190C fan/Gas 6-7.

Line two large baking trays with baking parchment. 

Mix the oats, nuts, desiccated coconut and seeds together in a big bowl. 

Put the honey, butter and ground cinnamon into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter is just melted. Pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well. 

Divide the mixture between the baking trays and spread evenly, just a wooden spoon to pat it down. Put one tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and mix well, then press it down again. Bake for another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before you stir or move it. Repeat with the other tray. 

Store in an airtight container and use within a month. 

(Original recipe from Dishoom by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.)

 

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You could have these for dessert with some crème fraîche but we like them for breakfast with yoghurt and granola.

Pomegranate-poached quinces – serves 6

  • 700ml pure pomegranate juice
  • 300ml cold water
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve (we skipped these)

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan. 

Put the pomegranate juice, water and sugar into a heavy casserole with a lid. Stir well, then add the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Put the casserole over a low heat and leave to warm gently. 

Peel, quarter and core the quinces and add to the pan with the pomegranate juice. 

Bring to the boil, then scrunch up a piece of baking paper, slightly bigger than the pan, then unscrunch again and press down on top of the quinces, tucking it in and up the sides of the pan. Cover with the lid and place in the oven. 

Cook for 1½-2 hours or until tender. Remove the lid and baking paper, then scoop out the quinces with a spoon. Strain the liquid, then return to the heat and bubble until reduced by half. Pour the liquid back over the quinces and leave to cool. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat, they keep well for a few days. 

(Original recipe from Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2020)

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It’s about this time of year when we usually get a bit tired of root veg and starting craving food more associated with Spring. Not so this year and largely due to Gill Meller who can do wonders with winter veg. Baked potatoes stuffed with celeriac didn’t sound super appealing to us but we can assure you these are delicious!

Wine Suggestion: a winter white called tonight: Jean-Michel Gerin’s La Champine Viognier from a young vineyard near their Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu vineyards. Great value from this top maker and while not as rich as their Condrieu it has charming fruit and a fresh purity.

Celeriac baked potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
  • a handful of dried ceps (or any dried mushrooms)
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tsp dried seaweed flakes (these are optional but we used Dulse Flakes from Aran Islands Seaweed which you can buy online)
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • a handful of grated cheddar cheese

Start by baking the potatoes. We like to scrub them, then rub in a little olive oil and sprinkle over some salt. Bake at 220C for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 200C and cook for 40-60 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh, taking care not to damage the skins. Return the empty shells to the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy pan over a medium-low heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and start to bubble, then add the onion, garlic, celeriac and dried mushrooms. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until the celeriac is soft. If it starts to catch just add a splash of water and lower the heat. When the celeriac is nice and soft, add the cream, milk, scooped out potato flesh, seaweed flakes and parsley. Stir to combine and season again if needed.

Stuff the crispy potato skins with the celeriac mixture, then place on a baking tray and scatter over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for 12-15 minutes or until hot. Serve with a dressed green salad.

(Original recipe from Root Stem Leaf Flower by Gill Meller, Hardie Grant: Quadrille, 2020.)

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Such a simple and foolproof way of cooking rice from Ottolgenghi Simple. This gives a lovely texture and the salsa is delicious. We served with pulled lamb shawarma but it would be great with all sorts of dishes. 

Baked mint rice with pomegranate and olive salsa – serves 6

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 800ml boiling water
  • 50g mint (leave 40g on the springs and shred the leaves of the remaining 10g for the salsa)
  • 150g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 40g pitted green olives, thinly sliced
  • seeds from a small pomegranate
  • 50g walnut halves, lightly roasted and roughly broken
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 230C fan or as high as your oven goes. 

Put the rice into a high-sided roasting tin, about 20 x 30cm. Season with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper, then pour over the melted butter and boiling water. Top with the mint sprigs and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, until the rice is fluffy and the liquid absorbed. 

Meanwhile, mix all of the salad ingredients, except the mint leaves, together in a bowl with ¼ tsp of salt. Mix well and set aside. 

When the rice is ready, pull the leaves off the mint sprigs and scatter them over the rice, then sprinkle over the feta. Just before serving, stir the shredded mint into the salsa and spoon over the rice. 

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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